Disney’s ‘Jungle Cruise’ Debuts with $90 Million Theatrical/PVOD Revenue

Disney’s Jungle Cruise debuted atop the weekend box office and in consumer homes, opening to an estimated total of more than $90 million globally, including $34.2 million in domestic box office across 4,310 screens, $27.6 million in international box office, and more than $30 million in Disney+ Premier Access consumer spend globally. The movie was available for $29.99 purchase to Disney+ subscribers, suggesting 1 million subs purchased the movie.

The PVOD tally was half the $60 million Disney+ subscribers spent purchasing Marvel Studios’ Black Widow on its opening box office weekend.

 “We remain focused on offering consumer choice during these unprecedented times, and it is clear that fans and families value the ability to make decisions on how they prefer to enjoy Disney’s best-in-class storytelling,” Disney Media and Entertainment Distribution said in a statement.

Inspired by the famous Disneyland theme park ride, Disney’s Jungle Cruise is an adventure-filled, rollicking thrill-ride down the Amazon with wisecracking skipper Frank Wolff and intrepid researcher Dr. Lily Houghton. Lily travels from London, England to the Amazon jungle and enlists Frank’s questionable services to guide her downriver on La Quila—his ramshackle-but-charming boat. Lily is determined to uncover an ancient tree with unparalleled healing abilities—possessing the power to change the future of medicine. Thrust on this epic quest together, the unlikely duo encounters innumerable dangers and supernatural forces, all lurking in the deceptive beauty of the lush rainforest. But as the secrets of the lost tree unfold, the stakes reach even higher for Lily and Frank and their fate—and mankind’s—hangs in the balance.

Jaume Collet-Serra directs the film, which stars Dwayne Johnson, Emily Blunt, Edgar Ramírez and Jack Whitehall, with Jesse Plemons, and Paul Giamatti. The producers are John Davis and John Fox of Davis Entertainment; Dwayne Johnson, Hiram Garcia and Dany Garcia of Seven Bucks Productions; and Beau Flynn of Flynn Picture Co., with  Scott Sheldon and Doug Merrifield serving as executive producers. The story is by John Norville & Josh Goldstein and Glenn Ficarra & John Requa, and the screenplay is by Michael Green and Glenn Ficarra & John Requa.

Other new releases included The Green Knight (A24) with $6.8 million across 2,790 screens, and Focus Features’  Stillwater with $5.1 million across 2,531 screens.

Returning releases included Universal Pictures’ M. Night Shyamalan’s horror thriller Old with $6.76 million; Disney/Marvel’s Black Widow with $6.43 million; Space Jam: A New Legacy with an estimated $4.27 million; Paramount Pictures’ Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins with $4 million in ticket sales; Universal’s F9: The Fast Saga with $2.65 million; and Escape Room: Tournament of Champions and The Boss Baby: Family Business, generating a reported $2.2 million and $1.3 million, respectively.

‘Black Widow’ Lawsuit Could Upend Talent Compensation Agreements

NEWS ANALYSIS — Scarlett Johansson’s breach-of-contract lawsuit — filed July 29 against Walt Disney Studios and Marvel Entertainment regarding the studio’s decision to simultaneously release Marvel Studios’ Black Widow in theaters and on the Disney+ subscription streaming platform — could upend Hollywood contracts with actors, producers and distributors.

Johansson alleges Disney made Black Widow available to Disney+ subscribers as a $29.99 Premier Access add-on in an effort to reduce its compensation to the actor, which was in part based on box office take. She reportedly is the highest-grossing and highest-paid actress in Hollywood.

Johansson’s Natasha Romanoff (aka Black Widow) character has been a mainstay within the Marvel Cinematic Universe since first appearing in Iron Man 2 in 2010. With the character getting her own solo movie, the financial stakes on the release were high. So high, Disney pushed back the theatrical debut three times from an original May 2020 launch due to the COVID-19 pandemic effectively shuttering much of the exhibition business.

From the gist of the lawsuit, Johansson claims she was assured Disney would follow an exclusive theatrical release strategy for Black Widow. With such a strategy in place, the studio delayed due to the pandemic, then instead chose to release the title concurrently in theaters and on its branded PVOD platform, Premier Access, a decision that earned the studio more than $60 million in incremental revenue in addition to the $80 million opening domestic box office.

Disney’s first-ever disclosure of Premier Access revenue suggested the haul was a fiscal home run. Disney first went with hybrid distribution for the Labor Day 2020 release of Mulan. That was followed in March this year with Raya and the Last Dragon and Cruella in May. Action adventure movie Jungle Cruise bows in theaters and Premier Access July 30.

However, Black Widow’s domestic box office take plummeted 68% in its second week, and another 55% in its third, a drop that led the National Association of Theatre Owners to blast Disney’s hybrid release strategy. The film also has yet to receive a release date in China, suppressing its potential international box office take. And, with a pristine copy made available online by Disney+, Black Widow quickly became the most pirated movie of the pandemic era, according to Torrent Freak. Many industry watchers also pointed to these factors as reasons MCU fans weren’t returning to theaters for multiple viewings of the film — a phenomenon typically required for a blockbuster film to sustain its box office legs.

Thus far, Black Widow has earned $159 million domestically and $160 internationally for a global total of $319 million, making it the second-lowest earner of the 24 MCU movies, on par with some of its earlier releases before 2012’s The Avengers made it a must-watch franchise, and certainly the lowest earner of any movie the character has appeared in, which previously was the aforementioned Iron Man 2 at $621 million.

In addition, Disney announced Black Widow would be available for digital purchase Aug. 10, giving it just a 32-day theatrical window, well short of the 90 days of a traditional theatrical release, and even the 45 days of newer agreements between studios and theaters that emerged during the pandemic. The announced Sept. 14 Blu-ray and DVD release date is just a 67-day window.

Apparently, Johansson’s contract with Disney/Marvel didn’t include a provision for PVOD distribution (and additional compensation). While Disney called the lawsuit “sad and distressing,” the litigation could redefine theatrical distribution in the age of COVID. Johansson’s lawsuit also has reportedly inspired other actors in Disney hybrid releases, such as Emma Stone of Cruella, and Emily Blunt of Jungle Cruise, to consider filing lawsuits of their own against Disney.

“Given how the pandemic has affected how movies are now released today, the court is going to look very closely at the contract between Ms. Johansson and the film company,” Krenar Camili, an attorney in Little Falls, N.J., told Esquire Digital. “If it was indeed a breach of contract for them to release the movie in both formats at the same time, then Johansson will need to prove that she suffered damages by their doing so.”

Indeed, Disney disclosed that Johansson had been paid $20 million for Black Widow, trying to undermine the actor’s claim of fiscal harm. Johansson’s agent, CAA, criticized Disney for disclosing their client’s financial agreement.

“They have shamelessly and falsely accused Ms. Johansson of being insensitive to the global COVID pandemic, in an attempt to make her appear to be someone they and I know she isn’t,” Bryan Lourd, co-chairman of the Creative Artists Agency, said in a statement.

But to Aron Solomon, head of strategy at Esquire Digital, the case centers on how actor/producer/director compensation agreements are written in the SVOD/pandemic era. Specifically, Solomon believes the case, regardless of the outcome, will see studios more narrowly define talent’s compensation dependent upon a movie’s distribution strategy.

“While Disney’s comments have far more of a theatrical rather than legal impact, they set the stage for a pandemic-centered battle Royale,” Solomon wrote. “Essentially, this case has the potential to redefine the entire notion of what ‘industry standard’ is today and what it could become tomorrow.”

Disney Partners With Postable to Promote ‘Luca’ Home Entertainment Release

Disney is partnering with Postable to promote the transactional digital, 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc, Blu-ray and DVD release of Pixar Animation’s Luca on Aug. 3.

To help market the retail release, Disney and Pixar are celebrating International Friendship Day by partnering with the online postcard snail mail sender to help friends say “ciao.” Movie fans can send physical postcards featuring movie characters Luca, Alberto and Giulia, with four greeting options each showing appreciation for companionship, adventure and acceptance while supplies last.

To send a Luca postcard, consumers can visit https://www.postable.com/luca, type a personal message, add their name and address, and Postable will mail the postcard free of charge.

Disney has also released a new Luca in-home trailer, which includes two alternate openings, deleted scenes and related bonus features.

Set in a seaside town on the Italian Riviera, Luca is a coming-of-age story about a young boy experiencing an unforgettable summer. Luca shares his amazing adventures with his friend Alberto. But their fun is threatened by a deeply held secret: They’re sea monsters from a world below the water’s surface.

Disney first released the erstwhile theatrical release June 18 exclusively to Disney+ subscribers for free.

Weekend Box Office: Disney Takes PVOD ‘Jungle Cruise’

Walt Disney Studios is re-entering controversial PVOD waters July 30. The studio will begin streaming the newly released feature film Jungle Cruise into Disney+ subscriber homes as a $29.99 add-on while simultaneously launching the ride-based action adventure, starring Dwyane Johnson and Emily Blunt, in theaters nationwide.

Disney’s last hybrid release — Black Widow — performed well its first weekend, generating $80 million at the domestic box office while generating another $60 million in lucrative Premier Access revenue to dominate the opening weekend.

Then things changed.

Second-week box office revenue plummeted, and this week the Marvel Cinematic Universe hero’s lead star, Scarlett Johansson, filed a breach-of-contract lawsuit against Disney over the PVOD release.

Black Widow has generated more than $319 million at the global box office, including $159 million domestically.

In a widely derided statement, Disney characterized the litigation as “sad and distressing,” even publicly questioning Johansson’s alleged “callous disregard” for the ongoing pandemic and its global impact on Hollywood, movies and distribution.

Johansson claims PVOD denied her the maximum financial compensation from a traditional theatrical window release, a contractual predicament Disney hopefully avoided with the Jungle Cruise stars. Following the fallout over the first-ever Premier Access revenue disclosure, it’s doubtful Disney will go public with Cruise digital sales.

Regardless, the movie has generated positive buzz on social media and among critics, and features the popular Johnson and Blunt, who is coming off a big success in A Quiet Place Part II. Industry estimates eye the movie generating upwards of $35 million over the three-day weekend. Pre-pandemic, Jungle Cruise was expected to generate $50 million on its opening weekend.

Other new releases include The Green Knight, A24’s medieval fantasy film starring Dev Patel, Alicia Vikander and Joel Edgerton, among others, and Stillwater, featuring Matt Damon as a rough and tough American trying to rescue his daughter in a foreign country.

The films are projected to generate from $2 million to $7 million on the low end, and $12 million on the high end in ticket sales.

Scarlett Johansson Sues Disney Over ‘Black Widow’ PVOD Release

In a significant development, Scarlett Johansson, star of Disney/Marvel Studios’ Black Widow, has filed a lawsuit against Disney for its concurrent theatrical and Premier Access VOD release of the Marvel superhero movie earlier this month.

The suit, filed in U.S. Superior Court in Los Angeles, alleges her contract with Marvel Entertainment and Disney was breached by the distribution strategy that seeks to release select movies simultaneously in a (shortened) 45-day theatrical window and into consumer homes via premium VOD.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Black Widow was marketed to Disney+ subscribers as a $29.99 add-on, which resulted in Disney reporting more than $60 million in incremental revenue over the same weekend the theatrical release generated $80 million at the domestic box office and $78 million internationally. The dual-release strategy angered some distributors who claimed the PVOD release took revenue away from exhibitors and undermined the movie’s box office lifespan.

To Johansson, whose financial compensation is tied to box office revenue of Black Widow — not streaming — the move resulted in a direct hit on her compensation. A media report suggests the PVOD release cost Johansson $50 million in compensation.

“Disney intentionally induced Marvel’s breach of the agreement, without justification, in order to prevent Ms. Johansson from realizing the full benefit of her bargain with Marvel,” read Johansson’s complaint.

Disney, the global box office champ in 2019 with more than $11 billion in ticket sales — largely from Marvel movies — quietly transitioned some movie releases to Premier Access, beginning with Mulan last Labor Day — as a way of combating the pandemic’s impact on moviegoers and theatrical attendance.

In a media statement, Disney claimed there is “no merit whatsoever” to Johansson’s litigation. It went further to lament the actress’ filing, reportedly saying the actress had already been paid $20 million in compensation for Black Widow.

“The lawsuit is especially sad and distressing in its callous disregard for the horrific and prolonged global effects of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Disney’s statement read.

Disney’s upcoming Jungle Cruise is slated for concurrent theatrical and Premier Access release.

Disney isn’t the only studio to fall in the crosshairs of actors, producers and directors. When WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar unilaterally decided to release Warner’s entire 2021 theatrical slate concurrently on HBO Max, many players within the studio system said they were blindsided by the move, in addition to being impacted financially. To meet contractual obligations for films such as Wonder Woman 1984, Warner reportedly paid $200 million in talent bonuses based on projected box office had the movie releases not been impacted by the pandemic.

Kilar says Warner will return to the theatrical window in 2022, while also releasing 10 movies concurrently on HBO Max.

Disney/Marvel’s ‘Black Widow’ Arrives Early on Digital Aug. 10, and 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray Disc/DVD Sept. 14

Disney-owned Marvel Studios has announced that superhero theatrical/PVOD hit Black Widow is arriving early on all major digital platforms on Aug. 10, and on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray Disc and DVD on Sept. 14.

The movie, starring Scarlett Johansson, generated $322 million at the global box office, including $155 million domestically. It also generated more than $60 million in Premier Access revenue its first weekend as an add-on to Disney+. The retail release will be available in Ultra HD and immersive Dolby Atmos audio, along with never-before-seen bonus footage, including nine deleted scenes, bloopers and featurettes.

In the action-packed spy thriller, Natasha Romanoff, aka Black Widow, confronts the darker parts of her ledger when a dangerous conspiracy with ties to her past arises. Pursued by a force that will stop at nothing to bring her down, Natasha must deal with her history as a spy and the broken relationships left in her wake long before she became an Avenger.

Along with Johansson, Florence Pugh stars as Yelena, David Harbour portrays Alexei/The Red Guardian and Rachel Weisz is Melina. Black Widow, the first film in Phase Four of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, is directed by Cate Shortland and produced by Kevin Feige.

Extras include:

  • Bloopers — Take a look at some of the fun mishaps on set with the cast and crew of “Black Widow.”
  • Deleted Scenes
    • Grocery Shopping — Natasha heads into a grocery store to prepare for her journey through Norway. After a long drive, she arrives at her destination: a mysterious trailer in the middle of nowhere.
    • Bike Chase — Tailed by assailants, Natasha and Yelena speed through the city in order to escape their nemeses.
    • Gulag Fight — Alexei squares up against several enemies and is quickly overpowered. When all hope seems lost, Natasha leaps in to lend a hand in the fight.
    • Smile — The Taskmaster protocol is activated in a tense moment, and an iconic helmet is unveiled.
    • Come After Me — Secretary Ross and Mason discover an important message Natasha left behind.
    • Walk and Talk — Alexei and Melina have a playful exchange. The Taskmaster arrives and faces off with Alexei.
    • Widows in Training — Yelena and Alexei awaken in captivity. Melina hands the Taskmaster vials while the Widows train.
    • Kiss — Alexei and Melina reunite after the action. Natasha grieves over an untimely demise in the brutal aftermath.
    • Ohio — Natasha witnesses the carefree nature of the Ohio suburbs through the neighborhood children.
  • Filmmaker Introduction Featurette — Director Cate Shortland introduces the film and her vision for it.
  • Sisters Gonna Work It Out Featurette — Watch Scarlett and Florence as they train, fight, and bond to become the sister duo in Black Widow. Listen as the cast and crew discuss the characters, rigorous training, and building the dynamic between the two fearsome siblings.
  • Go Big If You’re Going Home Featurette — Step back to appreciate the size and scale of “Black Widow”’s solo film. Shot around the world, the film balances family and drama with mind-blowing action. The cast and crew reveal the intricacies of stunts that made the film so action-packed.

‘Unbreakable’ Headed to 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray and Digital Sept. 21

The 2000 sci-fi drama Unbreakable will arrive on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc and digital for the first time Sept. 21 from Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution.

The Ultimate Collector’s Edition will also be released as a limited-edition Steelbook available only at Best Buy stores that consumers can preorder beginning Aug. 10.

In the film, directed by M. Night Shyamalan, after David Dunn (Bruce Willis) emerges from a horrific train crash as the sole survivor — and without a single scratch on him — he meets a mysterious, unsettling stranger (Samuel L. Jackson) who believes comic book heroes walk the earth, and whose sinister, single-minded obsession will impact David’s life forever.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Bonus features include deleted scenes, a behind-the-scenes featurette, a look at comic book artistry and leading artists, a scene from a film Shyamalan made as a child, and animated storyboard and final scene comparisons of the train sequence.

‘Black Widow’ Bites Big as Marvel Cinematic Universe Returns Atop Domestic Weekend Box Office

Disney/Marvel Studios super hero tentpole release Black Widow ended the domestic box office weekend (through July 11) as most of its Marvel predecessors did: at No. 1.

The Scarlett Johansson-starrer generated $80 million across 4,160 screens over the three-day period. The first Marvel theatrical release in two years saw $39.5 million in ticket sales on Friday July 9 — the 10th biggest opening night for a June movie release. Black Window had generated generated more than $22 million at the foreign box office entering the weekend, pushing the title’s global haul past $215 million.

The movie also generated more than $60 million on subscription streaming service Disney+, where it is available for $29.99 purchase only.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Meanwhile, Universal Pictures’ trio of sequel releases that dominated the previous weekend’s box office continued strong, with F9: The Fast Saga generating more than $10 million, followed by The Boss Baby: Family Business with more than $8 million, and The Forever Purge with almost $7 million. Paramount Pictures’ enduring A Quiet Place Part II held strong with about $3 million — topping $150 million in domestic ticket sales.

The tallies suggest vaccinated moviegoers are returning to cinemas in greater numbers as business-as-usual returns to many public events following the pandemic — despite the increasing prevalence of the Delta variant in new COVID-19 infections.

(This story was updated on July 12)

Marvel Cinematic Universe Eyes Return to Box Office Supremacy With ‘Black Widow’ Debut

NEWS ANALYSIS — Disney/Marvel Studios’ oft-delayed superheroine movie Black Widow, staring Scarlett Johansson, July 9 makes its U.S. box office debut — the first time a Marvel title has bowed theatrically in more than two years.

Indeed Disney ended 2019 with a record $11.1 billion global box office, including 33% of the combined domestic theatrical revenue largely due to Marvel movies.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Black Widow is reportedly projected to generate around $80 million in revenue, starting with the July 8 sneak peak of showings ($13.2 million) across 4,160 screens. It generated close to $22.4 million in international ticket sales entering July 8. Black Widow is also available for $29.99 purchase to Disney+ U.S. subscribers.

Data from Diesel Labs contends Widow has a lot of consumer momentum thanks to the release of three original Marvel series on Disney+, including “WandaVision,” “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier,” and most recently “Loki.”

Diesel contends nearly 70% of prospective Black Widow moviegoers also watched a Marvel series on Disney+, followed by more than 52% of Netflix streamers.

Almost 13% of Widow fans also streamed an episode of “Loki,” starring Tom Hiddleston, while 15% of Wonder Woman 1984 moviegoers will see the Marvel release.

Regardless, with Universal Pictures’ F9: The Fast Saga still speeding strong, coupled with Paramount Pictures’ enduring post-apocalyptic sequel A Quiet Place Part II, the weekend could be the strongest in the pandemic era.

Disney+ Reveals Details for ‘Star Wars: Visions’ Anime Series to Debut Sept. 22

At Anime Expo Lite July 3, Disney+ announced seven Japanese anime studios working on “Star Wars: Visions” — a collection of animated short films from Lucasfilm that will stream exclusively on Disney+ Sept. 22.

They are Kamikaze Douga, Geno Studio (Twin Engine), Studio Colorido (Twin Engine), Trigger, Kinema Citrus, Science Saru, and Production IG.

Lucasfilm’s Jacqui Lopez (executive producer), James Waugh (executive producer), Josh Rimes (executive producer), and Qubic Pictures’ Justin Leach (co-executive producer) and Kanako Shirasaki (producer) were on hand to reveal each studio and give fans a special look at the environment and concept art as they debuted the title and first details of each short.

The shorts are The Duel (Kamikaze Douga), Lop and Ochō (Geno Studio, Twin Engine), Tatooine Rhapsody (Studio Colorido, Twin Engine), The Twins (Trigger), The Elder (Trigger),  The Village Bride (Kinema Citrus), Akakiri (Science Saru),  T0-B1 (Science Saru) and The Ninth Jedi (Production IG).

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

“As a first formal venture into anime, each ‘Star Wars: Visions’ short bears a unique Japanese sensibility, which in many ways aligns with the tone and spirit of Star Wars storytelling,” according to Disney+. “From the beginning, stories told in the Star Wars galaxy have counted Japanese mythology and the films of Akira Kurosawa among their many influences, and these new visions will further explore that cultural heritage through the unique animation style and perspective of each anime studio.”